Tuesday, December 17, 2013

No Cook/No Bake Cinnamon Ornaments

Being in a classroom setting with out an oven makes it pretty hard to make those yummy smelling cinnamon ornaments I used to make with my mom.  But then I stumbled upon a recipe for a no cook/no bake cinnamon dough!  I was thrilled!

I found the recipe over at Growing a Jeweled Rose.  (Thank You!!)


  • 1 cup of flour 
  • 1/2 cup of salt 
  • 1/2 cup of cinnamon
  •  3/4 cup of very warm water 

 Combine ingredients, knead together, roll out!  Add a hole if you plan on stringing them.  Simple.  I let mine air dry for approx. 2 days fliping them in between.  I'm not sure why, but mine turned out a very light colored cinnamon.  But, they smell delicious!

After the ornaments were dry enough we painted them!  The paint only took about an hour to dry.  I strung them with hemp rope (my favorite!) and a heart with their name and year printed with a sharpie.  So cute!

Friday, November 22, 2013

DIY Christmas Decor for GROWNUPS!

I recently received an email from Minted asking to do a review on their blog site, Julep.  I was happy to help, because I fell in love with all the beautiful, gorgeous ideas they post!  I love to diy at home.  This site is going to help me with some Christmas decor and an upcoming (ahem, drum roll....) baby arrival.  (This is my subtle announcement that I'm having my second little cherub in March.)

I'm wanted to share some of my favorite finds on Julep with you today.
First up, let's decorate!  I'm a HUGE sucker for garland and bunting.  It's so versatile.  Hang it on a tree, on a mantel, over a window, strung across a playroom...endless.  These are all super easy to make.  I wouldn't show you something I couldn't do...
Cozy Pom Pom Garland

Felt Triangle Garland

Easy Knotted Garland

Easy Ball Garland

Ok, now what about DIY gifts?  Do you make your family, friends, co-workers gifts?  I love getting homemade things.  I think it shows someone how much you truly care for them to take the time to make something.  Here are some fun and again, EASY gift ideas I found on Julep.

Embroidered Leather Cuff

Easy & Easier DIY Magnets

DIY Star Combs

Fairy Twig Wands
And just for fun a few others for Christmas...

DIY Winter Themed Guest Book

Scratch Off Activity Advent

Watercolor Gift Wrap
Ok, really I could probably go on and on, but you really just need to search their blog yourself!  Such fun stuff to do (and easy!).  I'm typing as fast as I can because I really want to get started on my garland!

One more thing.  Julep is hosted by Minted.com.  Have you ever heard of them?  I have, but have yet to use them.  This year we are doing the photo collage Christmas card thing, and Minted is where I'm ordering from.  They have SO MANY CHOICES!  It is really hard for me to choose.  Help me out!  Which do you like best?

There you have it...my DIY Christmas has started.  Soon to come will be fun crafts I'm doing with the kids at school!

*This blog was given a monetary gift in exchange for this review.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Learning About Insects!

While most of you are getting bundled up, have blankets of snow in your front yard or are ready to hibernate for the winter we are just now able to get outside and enjoy the weather!  We still get a few warm days (80's), but for the most part we are doing a lot more outdoor activity.  For one, we can now explore some bugs!  Here in Phoenix we got a new place to visit called Butterfly Wonderland.  It has a large butterfly conservatory where hundreds of butterflies swarm.  It was very cool!

Here are some fun bug related activities we did:

I found a simple piece of sheet music from "Flight of the Bumblebees" had the children paint it and then added transparency paper wings!  Cute, Easy and a great little bee to dance to the music with!  I was inspired with this craft from And Next Comes L

Children cut their own spots, shapes or stripes to add to their ladybug body.  It was great practice for the little ones and allowed the older children the ability to be creative in what type of shapes their ladybugs had.

After reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle we made patterned bracelets.  I had different pattern cards for them to follow.  A few kids wore theirs all week!

This is my favorite new game...I mean the kids new favorite game!  I used a large cylinder container, drew a caterpillar on one side with a hole for his mouth and on the other side I mimicked the butterfly from the book.  Then I colored and glued each item of food the caterpillar ate (even the leaf!) onto frozen juice container lids.  As I read, or as the children reread the story they put the corresponding food into his mouth.  I found the food clipart on Eric Carle's blog!
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween and Fall Art for Preschoolers!

Did you see all the fun preschool Halloween games I posted yesterday?  We've been having such a howlin' good time!

Here are some of our art projects we've worked on:

Pine cone Owls: Squeeze glue inside each crevice and stick a feather in.  Add eyes and a beak!  
Hand print Sunflowers: child paints hand, stamps around paper, add sunflower seeds to the center.  
Color Mix Pumpkins: I told the kids I ran out of orange paint for our pumpkins!  Oh, no!  What should we do?  :)
We used lots of fun painting tools to mix yellow and red and after they dried cut out fun pumpkin shapes.  The pumpkins and sunflowers are in our pumpkin patch garden. :)

Candy Corn Hand prints: Children can paint each section of their hand print and then stamp.  I made ours into garland!
Cute, right??!!
Oh, this one is my favorite.  Sometimes I like to make "crafts" that are cute keepsakes for the parents.  This one in my opinion is one of those.  I'm smitten with Frankenfoot!
This was something we did 2 years ago, but I figured I'd add it!
Directions are here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Preschool Halloween Games

We have been getting really excited for Halloween this year.  I started setting out some simple games last week and this week we are getting really, really in the spirit!  Between all 3 of my classes I have to throw 3 parties, take 3 classes trunk or treating, dress up in costume 3 times and then...take a day off!! :)

I photo copied some "creepy" bugs for a cute shadow match game.  Simple, cheap and the kids loved it!

Simply made with beans (black eyed, black, lima and split peas), gauze for mummies and webs, buckets and all sorts of Halloween nick nacks that I've saved over the years.

{bad photo alert!}  Paper bats are hung up on a clothesline with clothespins!

I bought a hinged decor skeleton, took it apart and let the kids figure out how to put him back together.  This has been the #1 favorite!

Taped a spiderweb on the floor and stuck some numbers (and later, letters, shapes, colors) inside the web.  The kids would toss a spider on a section and say the number.  Why so fun?  They get the THROW a spider! :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fun With Dinosaurs!

It wouldn't be a preschool classroom without having a Dinosaur Week!  We were even able to visit the Arizona Natural History Museum a.k.a. "The Dinosaur Museum" on Friday for our field trip.

We made dinosaur eggs (that after were hardened the kids took home and had parents help to use a hammer to crack the egg open!)

Had a fun Dinosaur Sensory Bin.  A few of the girls liked giving the dinosaurs a bath in the water.  :)
Bin includes grass, rocks, sticks, large rocks, pieces of bark and water
Also made were some oldies, but goodies from years past.
Check them out here:
"D" Dinosaur
Dinosaur Stomping
Paleontologist Dig
Volcano Explosions!

For more fun check out my D is for Dinosaur Pinterest Page!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dixon Ticonderoga and Prang Review

I was honored when Dixon Ticonderoga contacted me to give their products a try and honest review.  I ONLY give reviews for companies that I research, have heard of and trust.  I was truly excited to get some of their supplies and hand them over to the true testers: THE KIDS!

Here is what I received: Prang Markers, Colored Pencils, Watercolors and Ticonderoga Pencils.  They also included some other brands (which I've chosen not to include) to compare their products with.

the boxes are empty because I had already emptied to give to the kids!
The first test run were the pencils and markers.  I sat at the art table during free art time and had a simple conversation with the kids about the materials they were using.
Me: "I got some new markers and pencils.  What do you think of them?"
Kids: "Good!"
Kid 1: "I really like the shape of the pencils.  Their silly!"  (the colored pencils are larger and triangular, which is great for little hands that are learning how to hold a pencil correctly.)
Me: "What do you think of the lids on the markers?  Do you think they are easy to pull off and on?"
Kid 2 (who struggles with keeping caps on markers): "Yes, I like how they aren't so hard."
I also tested the "wash-ability" from the table and hands.  They wiped up really well from the table, but didn't come off as well from their hands.  **Note** they are not labeled washable markers.
My review: LOVE the pencils!  Also, the markers did not dry out when a few "mysteriously" didn't have caps on.

Next up were the watercolors.  I loved how BIG the case and actual paint is.  The case is also very sturdy and comes with a really nice paintbrush.  Here is a comparison to a brand that will be left unnamed. ;)

Here is a project we used watercolors with:

(The other colors were taped off because we only were using blue and green colors on this particular project)
These watercolors came out so brilliant!  It almost had the appearance of tempera paint!  Here is the final project dried.  Brilliant colors!

The final product were the Ticonderoga pencils.  I've seen them, but really always thought all pencils were the same.  A friend of mine teaches upper elementary at a Montessori school and said they ONLY use this brand.  My husband says it is one of the best pencils he'd ever used.  I was a skeptic, that's for sure.
I opened up the box of (freshly sharpened) pencils and took a long inhale of the smell.  I KNOW I'M A WEIRDO! I love the smell of pencils. :)  I took out one pencil, got my notebook and went outside to make my "lists".

Maybe it's because of the fresh air, the cooler temps (it was low 90's) or the fact that I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH A PENCIL!! After I made my lists I jetted inside to fill in my pencil box with some new pencils! :)

Thank you Dixon Ticonderoga and Prang for opening my eyes to products that really do make a difference!  

If you are curious, why don't you give them a try?  Their products are carried everywhere, but you can always visit their website!